August 2009 Archives

The God Wars

Chapter Sixteen:

Battle of the Trenches

By Dwayne MacInnes

Greek Phalanx

General Crist watched through his field glasses as Ares marched his army through the air attack, the artillery barrage, and even the minefield. The carnage was astronomical, yet the army continued forward. Whenever someone tried to desert, Ares on his blazing black horse was on top of the poor victim. With a swoop of his red sword, the deserter's head would fly through the air.

Now Ares's army was approaching the trenches. The artillery and the mortar teams started to fire into the oncoming horde. The air screamed with the cry of the incoming shells. The ground shook as the earth exploded in a geyser of dirt and smoke when the shells landed, tearing great holes in the ranks of men now rushing the trenches.

The blackened bronze armor did little to protect the army as it struggled through the rain of steel exploding around them. Men and horses cried out in fear and pain. Nonetheless, they came relentlessly onward.

Sergeant Rogers would have appreciated the bravery of his foe if he did not happen to be their target. When the attackers were within range, he put a whistle to his mouth and blew as loud as he could. Other officers and noncoms followed suit down the trench line. Every gun in the trench opened up adding their destruction and mayhem into the onrushing army. The M2 and M1919 machineguns fired off endless rounds into the mass of humanity charging them cutting men down like a scythe in a field.

The infantrymen's M1 Garand and the occasional Browning automatic rifle spat lead knocking down many a foe. The mercenaries and brigands still ran towards the line even though men were falling all around them. The initial pathetic few who made it to the trenches ended up getting themselves entangled in the barbed wire.

However, the men behind them were able to cross the wired obstacle over their dead comrade's bodies allowing them to enter the trenches. Soon, the fighting was going on all around. Men were shooting, stabbing, and grappling with each other.

General Crist watched closely, he had to marshal his precious resources closely. Yet, he still had to be able to repel the opposing forces. So far, his men were holding the trenches.

Ares' bloodlust was now at its peak. He yelled and screamed in ecstasy urging his men forward. The chariots rushed forward as did the cavalry. Ares raised his sword over his head and kicked his black fire-snorting mount forward. The unholy beast was fleet of hoof and outran all other steeds.

With explosions randomly kicking up dirt around him, Ares charged over the no-man's-land. Other riders were falling off their steeds or out of their shredded chariots. Horses pitched forward throwing their riders over their heads. The ground was becoming impossible to cross. It was because of the dead and dying, ragged smoke-filled holes created by the exploding shells, and broken chariots littered everywhere.

Blood ran freely turning the dry earth into a gory mud. Depressions and holes filled up to form red pools. Whole rivers of blood ran downhill to create blood-filled lakes.

When Ares joined the ranks of his men, the horde gave out an encouraging cry. Though they were starving, tired, and scared, they took heart on seeing Ares moving to the front. The war god's presence inspired the men to give one final and desperate push to take the line.

Ares searched for the optimal place for him to attack the enemy. He wanted the pleasure of laying his enemy down in piles like their ungodly weapons was doing to his army. The black steed reared up preparing to charge when an explosion tore its rear legs off. Thrown backwards into the blood-soaked earth, Ares landed on his backside, his dead mount on top of him.

The war god now maddened beyond belief, kicked his dead horse off his body. He jumped to his feet and charged the trenches himself. He cut through the barbed wire with his sword severing it as a sharp knife would a thread. Bullets ripped into his armor stinging his godly hide. He paid the pain little attention; his mind was in a berserker state. The god in a wrath called on his powers and grew in size to about twenty feet.

He swung his sword cutting great swathes into the defenders. Men flew in parts or whole through the air with each swing of his mighty blade.

The opposition was now flooding into the trenches. Crist knew his men could not withstand such a surge for long. He was about to call in his reserves when he saw a militia woman throw her farmers into the fray. The peasant army filled the already crowded trenches adding their strength to the infantrymen.

Hand-to-hand fighting and close quarter combat ensued. The Americans swung their rifles like clubs when they expended their ammunition. Bayonets either in hand or at the end of a rifle sparred with spear and short sword. Grenades would tear holes into groups of attackers.

Yet through this entire episode, Ares reveled. The war god was in his element. Ares covered from head to toe in gore, laughed and delighted in the carnage around him.

General Crist finally ordered in the reserves. He only hoped that he had not waited too long. The peasant militia may have bought him the time he needed for the reserves to turn the tide. He specifically wanted Ares removed from the picture.

M1 Garand

PFC Daniels loaded his Garand one last time. He was down to his last clip of ammunition and the fighting around him was fierce. The sergeant was firing away with his Tommy gun mowing down men around him. Although it would not be long before he too was out of ammunition.

Daniels watched in horror as a group of black armored attackers overwhelmed Rogers. The sergeant fell backwards under the press of men. The Tommy gun fell ominously quiet.

Without thinking, PFC Daniels emptied his M1 into the horde. Many of them fell stricken, the others turned to see the new threat. Daniels threw himself into the men armed only with his bayonet. This battle was going to be one-sided, yet the private did not bother to think about it.

In a rage, Daniels slashed and thrust at the enemy. His pure ferocity forced the men to give ground. Suddenly, a woman came up next to Daniels and started to attack the men. She easily parried and counter-attacked the men's attacks. Within a minute, the remaining men were on the ground either dead or dying.

Daniels located sergeant Rogers, he had a stab wound to his left shoulder but otherwise appeared okay. The private helped Rogers to his feet and then escorted him to the redoubt.

The trench was rapidly filling with Ares' horde. Daniels started calling his men back towards the redoubt. Those, who were able, climbed inside. Daniels watched as the lone militia woman continued to hold the attackers back while the men climbed into the trench's fortification.

When the last man climbed inside Daniels called out to the woman. At first, she did not respond. He was using English and the peasant woman did not speak it. So he cried out in Minoan and the woman looked over her shoulder to see the private waving her to the redoubt.

The woman retreated to the redoubt and when they were all inside Daniels secured the door. The horde of attackers started to beat on the door of the little fortress when suddenly the muzzle of the M2 protruded out of an embrasure. The machinegun spat fire and steel into the crowd. Soon that part of the trench works was empty of any standing men. Those on the ground were either dying in deep pools of blood or already dead.

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Stevie Wonder Live! (With Spanish Subtitles)

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Vengeful Friends Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

In his previous encounter, Gaius realized one of the flaws of his cover identity. He was supposedly a freed blacksmith; yet, he knows nothing about smithing. He had watched his guild members work, but he knew little of what they were doing. He was surprised it had never come up before that encounter. Nonetheless, he was not sure what he could do about it if it came up again.

He and his horse had plenty of rest in Formia, and they were ready to travel. It started off uneventful, and they reached the first stop well before midday. However, Gaius would not be so lucky on the second leg of the journey.

"We have been expecting you," stated a man as Gaius rode up.

"I am sorry to keep you waiting," replied Gaius. "There was some trouble in Formia."

"It would seem that the stories we have heard about you are true," stated the same man as five more came onto the road.

Two of the men held long spears which they braced upon the road. They were the type to bring down horses or their riders. It was clear that they were there to prevent Gaius from riding past. The remaining three had military-grade roman short swords. Furthermore, they were all dressed in legion brass armor and they had the accompanying Roman tower shields. It was obvious to Gaius that these men had been in many fights. He thought that they may be hired mercenaries. At the very least, they were former Roman legionnaires.

"Stories?" asked Gaius. "Who would be telling stories about me?"

"A man you faced recently has been spinning quite a yarn all along the Appian Way."

"I recall a man who ran away while I brought down his comrades. He did not even stop to help. Was he a friend of yours?"

"What? No! "

"That is good because you can tell the type of people you are dealing with by the company they keep."

"This coward tells of bodies which are strewn along the path as you pass through."

With the two spears anchored in the road, the remaining men flanked the spearmen. They formed a small line behind the man who was speaking to Gaius. All three drew their swords and brandished their shields.

"Is that so? Were you looking to join that group?"

"That is quite bold talk!"

"It was just a question."

"Perhaps the name Lucius Servius Cresces would mean something to you?"

"No. Why do you ask?"

"Do you always kill someone without noting their name?"

"Not always -- just most of the time."

"He was our comrade."

"That does not help me determine who he was."

"It does not matter at this point."

"Well, you brought it up."

"You are going to join that group of corpses for which you are responsible. That line of corpses along this road ends with yours."

"Is that right?" asked Gaius as he dismounted and patted the mare on the behind to have her move off.

The leader drew his sword and Gaius followed suit by drawing his scimitar.

"Are you ready to die?" asked the leader of the small band.

"I guess I will find out soon enough," replied Gaius.

The two men with spears held their ground, but the three others and the leader formed a line. The four men moved towards Gaius in a standard Roman legion formation. That is, they were four men behind shields with their short swords sticking out of the gaps as they approached Gaius.

It was clear to Gaius that these were well disciplined fighters. His scimitar would be no match against their shields or their short swords. Further, in order to save his horse, he had to give up his mounted advantage. This was not going to be a simple fight.

Gaius feinted to the left, and made a dash to the right of the four-man formation. They men turned slowly to not ruin the formation. Hence, Gaius managed to outflank the group. However, instead of attacking any of the members of the formation, he attacked one of the spearmen who remained in reserve. The man with the spear was completely surprised by this move and found his neck quickly opened by Gaius's scimitar.

Gaius dropped his scimitar and grabbed the bleeding man's spear. With it, he swung it around and caught the other spearman in the back of his helmeted head with the shaft of the spear. This knocked the man forward who tumbled to the ground with his helmet spilling off forward. With a quick thrust of the spear into the back of the neck, Gaius was down to only the four men. They had managed to turn their formation to face Gaius. The leader whispered some commands to prevent the type of flanking maneuver to be successful again.

With the spear, Gaius menaced the men in formation. However, they were too savvy to break from their positions. There was defensive strength in the way they lined up. Gaius would have difficulty penetrating the defense as long as that group worked together. On the other hand, they could not approach Gaius enough to inflict damage as long as he had the spear. They were at somewhat of a stand-off.

"What is wrong barbarian -- afraid?" yelled the leader.

"It is four against one," replied Gaius. "Although -- it was six against one."

"We will avenge their deaths as well."

"You are doing fine so far."

One of the men was tired of the taunting, and broke formation. He rushed Gaius swinging his short sword. He was too close for Gaius to stab with the spear, so he had to side step the rushing man. Gaius hit him in the back with the shaft of the spear as he went past. The soldier lost his balance and fell on his face. Before the man could get up, Gaius placed the spear point into a vulnerable spot in the thigh. Blood began to spill in great quantities.

The remaining men attempted to flank and save their comrade, but Gaius kept them at bay with the spear. The lone soldier was not dead, but was bleeding quite rapidly. He would lose consciousness at any moment. He tried to get up, but in the brief time, he had already lost too much blood. He collapsed back down, and Gaius went back to the remaining three men.

"I stand corrected," taunted Gaius. "It is three against one."

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The God Wars

Chapter Seventeen:

Aftermath

By Dwayne MacInnes

Ares: The God of War

Ares looked around him; his forces were taking the trenches. It would only be a matter of time before his army took the trenches and then stormed the city. Sure, it was still ten miles south, but his men tasted victory and they would sack it this very night.

Ares at twenty feet tall looked over the devastated landscape. Most of the dead in the field were his own men, though he was able to even the score a little bit. The god of war started to order his men to hasten so that they could take the city. When he heard a thunderous boom followed by another. He then felt a terrible pain in his left hand. It was a sensation he had never experienced before. The war god looked down to see the bloody stump where his hand used to be.

Ares spun around to find the source of the wound. There on the ground charged 15 iron chariots. They had a long pipe that exploded and fired some projectile. In addition, they were charging after him. Occasionally one would stop and fire its pipe. Fortunately, they were still far off and missing, the wound to his hand was only a lucky shot.

Ares would normally welcome such a challenge. However, he had just lost a hand and his lifeblood was freely flowing from of his stump. The god of war turned and started to retreat across the battlefield.

Ares' army watched in horror as their god abandoned them. The reserve forces Crist ordered were now flooding the trenches. The black-armored army decided to follow their leader and started to climb out of the trenches.

As the army retreated across no-man's-land, the artillery and mortar teams opened up again. The men who had fought their way through the storm of steel now had to endure it again. The men threw their weapons and shields to the ground and fled as fast as they could.

The few chariots and cavalry, who were remaining, joined in the rout. However, many a horse broke a leg or a chariot lost a wheel trying to fly across the broken landscape. The men would have to continue on foot. Many fell never to rise again as a burst of a steel shell exploded over their heads.

Some of the peasant militia started to chase after the fleeing foes. Fortunately, their leaders reined them in before they ran into the artillery barrage. So instead, they climbed the trench mounds and taunted their foes.

When the last man disappeared over the horizon, Crist called a halt to the artillery barrage. Ares' army was broken and the vast majority of them now lay upon the field or in the trenches dead or dying.

* * * * *

General Crist surveyed the battlefield. Already there were large groups of people working to collect the wounded and to bury the dead. The work was grim and on the advice of the psychiatrist on the Respite, the people worked in shifts. Walking the fields littered with broken bodies, unattached limbs, and animal parts took nerves of steel.

The teams working the fields separated the bodies of the fallen defenders from those of Ares' army. The latter were buried in mass graves or burned much like the minotaurs and cyclopes before. The survivors either cremated or, in a cemetery established outside the city walls, buried the bodies of the defenders.

General Crist recalled the quote from Robert E. Lee, "It is well war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it." Crist was pleased with how his army operated, they held the line and did not falter. The opposing army showed great fortitude born either by fear of Ares or bravery (probably a bit of both) on marching through a hail of steel and lead to reach the trenches.

Now that they won the battle and the enemy was in flight the grim task of cleaning up began. Not only did they need to dispose of dead bodies before disease spread amongst the survivors; they needed to locate and dispose of any unexploded shells buried in the blood soaked fields.

Colonel Jenkins walked up to Crist. He had a clipboard in hand and cleared his throat to gain the general's attention. Crist turned towards the colonel and smiled.

"You have those reports?" Crist asked.

"Yes sir," the colonel began. "We have expended a large portion of our munitions. We may be able to withstand one more -- maybe two more attacks like this -- if we use caution before we are dry."

The general nodded his head. He had tried to use restraint the day before; however, it nearly cost him the trenches. If it was not for the militia woman leading her forces into the trenches yesterday, it very well could have ended differently. Of course, the charge of the Sherman tanks against Ares helped a lot as well.

"Our casualty figures are pretty high. We suffered nearly 5000 casualties. Fortunately, only about 1700 are the dead and most of those were the militia and Zakrostian army.

"Unlike in those Douglas Fairbanks movies people generally do not die instantly from stab wounds. So, we were able to patch up many of our men…"

"And women," Crist interrupted. "These Atlanteans allow their women to fight, and I have to admit they can hold their own."

"Yes sir," Jenkins acquiesced. "However, a lot of those men and women will not be able to return to combat."

Colonel Jenkins lifted the first page of his report to look at the sheet beneath. He took a second to study it.

"The Respite reports," Jenkins continued, "that it has also exhausted much of its medical stores. The pharmacists have been working hard to find and manufacture replacement drugs, antiseptics, anesthesia, and other medical stores."

"That is as well as expected," General Crist replied. "How is the POW situation?"

Colonel Jenkins leafed through a few more sheets of paper on his clipboard until he found what he needed. He sighed and replied, "About 7340 prisoners of war. We have them in a hastily constructed prison camp right now."

"Fine," Crist replied. "I want you to set up some tribunals. The first I want you and Captain Arnold on."

"Yes sir," Jenkins responded. "But we need three officers."

"I want a local commander to sit with you," Crist offered. "This is not just our affair; in fact, it is more theirs than ours. So, I want two of our officers and one of theirs to sit on every tribunal court."

"But sir," Jenkins protested, "they don't hold ranks in their military like ours."

"That will change," Crist replied. "To start with I am promoting that woman that led the militia into the trenches to a general of the local forces. She will sit with you on the first tribunal."

Jenkins nodded his head. He did not know how well the locals would feel about a peasant being in charge of their army. But, all the aristocrats, the ones traditionally to lead the military, moved to the Kingdom of Atlantis after King Podaistas ceded Crist part of his realm.

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Yes I know...

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Vengeful Friends Incident - Part II

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The three remaining men learned their lesson from their latest fallen comrade. If they were to break formation, Gaius was a very formidable opponent. However, if they stuck together the trio would have a chance to defeat Gaius. At least, it was currently at a stand-off.

Gaius continuously attempted to flank them and test them for weakness. All of the men moved left and right with each looking for an opening. They were all being cautious. Trying not to leave an opening for the opponent because that could only mean death.

In their ever shifting positions, one of the men picked up Gaius's scimitar. Now, every time he would thrust his spear, they would attempt to parry with the thrust with the scimitar. This bothered Gaius, as the scimitar was not designed for that type of duty. Each parry could destroy his weapon. In this way, Gaius's opponents were attempting to force Gaius into doing something rash.

"What is the matter barbarian?" shouted the leader. "Afraid of damaging your own weapon with someone else's?"

"Fear has nothing to do with it," replied Gaius.

"So, what are you going to do about it?"

"Currently, it is not a concern."

"Perhaps if we start smacking it on the ground..."

"If you wish to destroy a viable weapon," responded Gaius. "Be my guest."

Despite his cool exterior, Gaius was concerned about his scimitar. It had been a trusty weapon for many years. He did not want to see it destroyed. It was not meant for steel on steel contact. It definitely was not meant to be smacked against the cobbles of the street. However, he could not let on that he cared. His opponents could use that against him.

The stand off continued. Everyone continued to look for a weakness or an opening. Each combatant remained vigilant for a mistake by their opponent. Gaius continued to probe their defenses with the spear. He continued to move right or left in an attempt to flank them. The three men stuck to their formation and blocked any thrust by Gaius. In this situation, someone would eventually tire and make a mistake.

Gaius had hoped that as the time continued, that his opponents would give up on their fight. However, with him killing three more of their comrades, they were more likely to continue to fight until he was dead. Thus, there needed to be something to break the stalemate. Gaius devised a plan.

When the time was right, Gaius turned and ran to his horse. With the shaft of the spear, he planted it on the ground and vaulted up above the mare. He was quickly on her, and turned towards the three remaining men. With some urging, the rider and horse went into the men. Their formation was broken.

Gaius had the spear, so he could reach the armored men as they sprawled upon the ground. He attempted to get them in a vulnerable spot. The first man managed to avoid his thrust, but the second man had the spear point find his leg. He shouted in pain as the blood began to flow. He attempted to get up, but Gaius knocked him back down with another thrust. A final thrust caught the man in the neck, and he was through fighting.

While this was happening, the two other men regained their formation, and grabbed the other spear. The point stuck out between them, and the shaft was braced upon the ground. This hampered their mobility as they had to keep the spear braced upon the ground. However, it prevented a similar move that Gaius just made.

Further, Gaius had a spear of his own. Thus, he had more range while mounted. He also had speed, and he could flank the two men more easily. They continued to parry his thrusts where the could. However, more were striking their shields and their armor. It was clear that Gaius now had the upper hand.

"Why do you not dismount and fight us like a man?" asked the leader.

"As if bringing five guys to fight one man is fighting like a man."

"Does your honor mean nothing to you?"

"Living is the only honor that means anything to me," replied Gaius as he thrust the spear against the leader's shield.

"The Fates will not let you live long with that hubris of yours."

"That is funny!"

"What is so funny?"

"I am completely an engine of destruction for the Fates."

"What?"

"It is you that started this fight which has led to your destruction. It was the Fates that brought you to your doom. It has nothing to do with me."

With those words, Gaius urged his horse towards the men. With the weight of the horse behind it, he gave a hard thrust to the shield of the leader's ally. The force knocked him backwards, but shattered the spear. Gaius drew his dagger and jumped down onto the man. A thrust to the throat, and the leader was the only opponent left.

However, Gaius was vulnerable. He only had his dagger. However, the leader forgot all of his training. His rage got the best of him as he dropped his shield. He roared and rushed at Gaius with his short sword above his head.

Gaius rushed back and put his shoulder into the man's chest. Gaius drove the man back, and tackled him to the ground. Gaius put his knees on the leader's arms to prevent him from using his sword.

"Any last words?" asked Gaius.

"You will get yours," replied the leader of the group.

"Indeed I will," replied Gaius as he thrust his dagger into the man's throat.

Gaius cleared the road of the dead men's bodies. He checked his scimitar, and found it badly damaged. He would need to seek out a smith to have it repaired. He tied the spear to his horse, and mounted. He found that the spear was handy, and would be an excellent weapon with his scimitar in need of repair.

He rode on to the next way point. It was a tough battle. Although it was relatively early in the day, Gaius needed to rest. He would spend the remaining daylight hours there and start off again in the morning.

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The God Wars

Chapter Eighteen:

Moving Forward

By Dwayne MacInnes

The city of Zakrostas was in full celebration after its victory over Ares' army. The locals amazed the Otherworlders with many their fantastic celebratory customs. The one that astounded the Otherworlders the most was the bull-leaping or as the locals called it -- taurokathapasia.

Inside the local stadium, which was packed with revelers, a group of teenage boys and girls stood on the field. The youths were clad in only a short kilt to leave their movements unhindered. Released from a pen, a large, long-horned bull would charge into the midst of the teens. One of the youths would then literally grab the bull by the horns and as the bull swung his head back, the youth was vaulted over the beast's back.

One of the other youths would position him or herself behind the animal to catch their vaulting comrade. The bravery and acrobatic skill amazed even the most stoic patron. This event went on for hours to the ecstatic cries of the audience. After it concluded, there was not even one injury amongst the young acrobats.

There was feasting all over the city. Bronze tripods and spits with roasting goats, mutton, and beef sat over blazing fires. The grease of the meats would sizzle as it fell into the flaming pits releasing a savory aroma into the air. On such occasions as the victory celebration, the vendors dispensed the food at no charge to anyone wanting it.

The alcohol flowed just as freely. The revelers enjoyed copious amounts of Atlantean beer, mead, and wine leaving many intoxicated. Remarkably enough there were few complaints of disorderly conduct.

Even if one did not want to enjoy the games, food, or drink, he or she could listen to the many songs played by the musicians around Zakrostas. The pleasant aroma of food and the sweet sounds of music filled the air all through the day and into the night. Never had the city been so alive with merriment.

Bull Leaping or Taurokathapasia

The partying lasted a full three days. After it finally died down, General Crist called a meeting of his top military leaders. He was happy to see Theena attending. The woman had adapted well into her role of general of the local forces.

Since the days of Ares's defeat, General Crist had gone on a program of promoting officers and awarding medals. The latter was new to this world. Historically, Napoleon awarded the first campaign medals to his soldiers during the Napoleonic wars on earth about 150 years ago.

The new Atlantean Gold Star and Atlantean Silver Star for service and the Zakrostian Campaign medal proved very popular amongst the American soldiers as it did amongst the Zakrostian. The Zakrostians awarded one of the new medals would proudly display it on their chest as they walked down the streets.

Theena was one of the few to receive both the Gold and Silver Star for valor and bravery for her actions in the trenches. Now the woman sat around a large polished oak table with the rest of the officers of the new army. General Crist shuffled some papers in front of him before he started the meeting.

"Okay, people," the general said. "We must start thinking about holding democratic elections.

"I want the offices held by both native Atlanteans and us Otherworlders. I want the government set up like our own in the U.S."

Captain Bolger of the Olympus raised his hand, "I say old chap have you considered our system of government back in England?"

"I have," Crist replied. "But the local aristocrats have left town so assembling a House of Lords will be rather difficult."

Many of the Otherworlder officers chuckled. Theena felt like she missed the joke and only watched the exchange between the two men. She wondered why the language that they spoke, which they called English, strangely did not have the same accent. Theena could understand a lot of the new language, but like most of the local officers at the meeting, she had an interpreter on hand.

"Point taken," Bolger said with a smile. "However, when we get back home, I plan on lodging a complaint with Eisenhower."

The chuckles now became full laughs amongst the Otherworlders. The locals sat quietly feeling a bit left out. General Crist nodded his head smiling before continuing with his agenda.

"We must also start rushing the construction of factories. We must have new ships for Admiral Arnolds's navy," General Crist stated looking towards the captain of the Pima. The general decided that as long as they were stuck on this world, they would at least temporarily promote the most able commanders. This would help build up the Atlantean naval and land forces.

"We also need ammunition and replacement parts for our weapons. Even though we can produce steel, we cannot refine aluminum at this time. Therefore, we are limited to the aircraft we have on hand."

Colonel Hodgson cleared his voice, "General Sir," the new air corps commander interrupted. "We can try to manufacture planes like the British Hawker Hurricane. The planes were constructed primarily from wood and fabric. Rubber for the tires and the construction of a good engine would be the main obstacle."

Bolger smiled with pride at Hodgson's proposal. The American pilot had obviously paid attention to the Battle of Britain. Nevertheless, the Spitfire received the lion's share of the glory for winning the battle. The smaller Hurricane's numbers finally wore the Germens down, primarily because it was easy to construct and repair.

"I never thought of that," General Crist replied writing the suggestion down on a pad of paper. "Speaking of construction, I want a fort built north of here near the village of Knopso." The general looked over at Theena.

"General Theena will lead a force of engineers and soldiers north as soon as possible."

Theena smiled. She was pleased when the general first proposed a fort to act as an advanced warning of another attack. Such a fortification could have delayed Ares long enough for reinforcements to arrive and the scorched earth policies that Theena employed would not need to have happened.

Crist handpicked Theena because she knew the area. Further, she had the respect from the people of the neighboring villages. The peasant militias would rally to her much more willingly than they would to a Zakrostian or Otherworlder commander.

Crist also charged her with training the militias. The Jolly Rogers would accompany her to help modernize the ancient forces. They would guide her in the best designs for a fort as well as its placement. They would also bring some artillery pieces along.

As they proceeded north, they would string telegraph lines; therefore, the frontier could communicate directly to Zakrostas. To minimize the chances of another surprise attack, General Crist ordered other small outposts to be constructed.

Such wisdom and strategy would have been worthy of Odysseus noted Theena.

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I am not going to discuss the politics of un-planetizing Pluto; however, I am including it because the B-52's make a rocking song.

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Supervania

The Case of Errand Boy

Part One

By Douglas E Gogerty

There were not many requirements for living in Supervania. However, the big rule was that you had to have some super power. It did not matter how trivial it was. Just about any extraordinary talent or ability would count; as long as it was fairly unique.

The world government would not allow anyone to move to Supervania without some sort of demonstrated special ability like being nigh invulnerable. The exception to this rule was children of residents. It was assumed that children of superheroes would also be superheroes. Thus, they did not have to demonstrate an ability to the governmental Department of Education and Transcendent Health Panel.

Those non-evil ninja cyborgs that wished to move to Supervania had to appear in front of the "DEATH" panel and demonstrate their ability. Children born in Supervania had to appear in front of local board. Rarely did they have to actually demonstrate a super ability, but it was assumed that if they wanted to stay in town that they had an ability.

However, when Kirk and Dixie Justice had their child, who they named Dirk, it turned out he was not born with any superpowers. This was not unusual as many children did not develop their super abilities until they reached puberty. Nonetheless, Dirk never developed any superpower. He was an average citizen in many ways. He may have stood out if he did not go to Supervania Central High school.

However, Dirk did not want to move away from Supervania. He had no super power, but his mother and father were prominent people in town. He wanted to stay close to them. Fortunately, the person responsible for enforcing the laws, and in particular this very law, was the Chief of Police. Since Kirk Justice was not going to enforce this rule on his own son, he left the decision up to the courts.

However, the individual responsible for making this ruling in the court was the cities Attorney General. Since this was Dixie Justice, she would not exile her own son. Hence, the only person in Supervania without any type of mutation or special ability was Dirk Justice.

To disguise his lack of any extraordinary abilities, the Justice family spared no expense on obtaining gadgetry to make Dirk appear as if he belonged in Supervania. Thus, Dirk was forced to use machines and technology to fight crimes in the city.

With Dirk moving out of his parent's home and setting out on his own, he obtained a costume emblazoned with the family colors of red, white, and blue. He wore a mask like everyone else. He drove around on his Cycle of Justice and pretended to be like everyone else. Yet, he knew that it was not true.

Then one fateful day it happened. He did the one thing that many superheroes do not even think of doing. He now knew his role in the city. He now knew that he belonged in ...

Super Supervania
Where super powers are nothing to feign-ia
Where secrets are hard to maintain-ia
It's Super Supervania!

It started off as a normal day for the Supervania Regional String and Twine Consortium. They were busy filling out orders for the area's wrapping needs. They had gone 127 days without an incident. Then suddenly everything went pear-shaped as they say across the pond.

All of the day's production spewed out into one large ball. It was larger than the largest ball of twine in Minnesota. It broke loose and rolled down the hill towards Supervania's town square where there the Brownie and Cookie Convention was taking place -- BaCCon.

Meanwhile across town at the city's Auditorium of Equitableness, Anonymous Man was in the Mayor's office.

"Mr. Mayor," started Anonymous Man. "You have to do something!"

"That is certainly true," replied the mayor. "Thank you for bringing that to my attention."

"Mr. Mayor," sighed Anonymous Man. "A large ball of string and twine -- larger than the largest ball of twin in Minnesota -- is rolling towards BaCCon."

"We have the String Theorist on the job. The problem should be resolved soon."

"What about those attending the convention?"

"Haven't they been evacuated?"

"No sir, so if the String Theorist does not get there in time..."

"With these circumstances, this can only mean it is some type of diversion..."

"You mean?"

"Yes! It must be the work of the Feline Femme Fatale!"

"We need to get the Crusading Canine to take care of her."

"He is -- unavailable."

"What?"

"Yes -- he is out -- er -- chasing tail."

"At a time like this?"

"You know how he is."

"I guess I do."

"It will take time to contact him and get him to take care of that feline fiend, but first we need to get those innocent people away from the convention center. After that we can discover the true nature of that woman's plan."

"If there were just a way to distract that evil ninja cyborg, and lure the citizens away from the center at the same time."

"We will get on that Anonymous Man," Mayorman said rising from his desk. "Thank you for coming."

The mayor shook Anonymous Man's hand and called for his assistant to enter his office. With a stack of paper, The Assistant entered the mayor's office. He put the stack on Mayorman's desk.

"There is trouble," The Assistant began.

"Big trouble! We need to evacuate the convention center without causing a panic. We also need to distract the Feline Femme Fatale from her felonious f-f-f-plans."

"Is the Crusading Canine chasing tail?"

"Yes."

"It figures."

"Contact Kirk Justice and have him be on the lookout for any strange occurrences. Get the Society with Tremendous Red and Yellow Socks on the phone."

"Do you think the Crusading Canine is hanging out with STRAYS?"

"He might be. It is worth a shot. Get some superheroes up here. Perhaps we can brainstorm an idea."

"Yes sir," replied The Assistant.

The mayor's assistant made the required calls. The chief of police, Kirk Justice, was on the lookout for some unusual evil ninja cyborg activity. Several superheroes attending BaCCon were notified, and they quietly began evacuating the convention center as quickly and quietly as they could. Dirk Justice was one of the first people to arrive at the mayor's office. The two of them began to think about a way out of their predicament in...

Super Supervania
Where they needed a storm of the brain-ia
Or a mess of string they'd have to explain-ia
It's Super Supervania.

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The God Wars

Chapter Nineteen:

New Arms

By Dwayne MacInnes

Corporal Daniels surveyed the construction of Fort Knopso. The fort was nearly complete. It had barracks, steep earthen and concrete walls dotted with towers and pillboxes, and a large parade ground inside its barricades. The village that provided the name for the fort laid abandoned and destroyed. The bodies of the villagers still lay charred and rotting in the ruined habitat when the small force led by General Theena returned.

By now, the name of the Amazon of Knopso was well known. The natives of Atlantis delighted in having one of their own as a general. Those, who were able, flocked to join her growing military command.

All recruits learned how to speak English, use modern weapons and tactics, and the use of military ranks. Officers even had to learn how to act around enlisted personnel. Initially, it was not uncommon to see an officer shaving the face of a private. However, the Otherworlders taught that enlisted personnel had to respect officers and those officers had to earn the respect of the enlisted personnel.

Daniels looked down at the two chevrons on his arm. He still could not believe he received a promotion for his act of bravery in the trenches. In addition, he also received the Atlantean Gold and Silver Star for valor and bravery. The only others to receive both were the sergeant, now Lieutenant Rogers and General Theena.

Lt. Rogers was now running the construction of the fort while the general rode off around the countryside gathering recruits. It now appeared that Fort Knopso was going to be an advanced fort as well as a training camp.

Now that some factories were up and running, muzzle loading-rifles were issued to the new local recruits and militia. Some ammunition for the M1 Garands and the artillery pieces were also starting to come into production. However, the new ammunition did not seem to arrive in enough quantities to please Lt. Rogers.

"We better get more factories on line before another army attacks us," groaned Lt. Rogers as he stepped up next to Daniels.

"Yes sir," Daniels said. "I think the recruits have been adapting pretty well. The first couple of weeks they nearly died of heart attacks when they heard the crack of a rifle. Now, most of them are fairly decent marksmen."

"We'll need more than decent marksmen if we are hit again. We barely held them off last time," the lieutenant said. "However, it is a good step."

Zeus

Ares walked into the throne room on Mount Olympus. Zeus sat on his throne frowning as the god of war entered the room. All the assembled gods noticed the missing member where Ares' left hand used to be.

"I have summoned you here," Zeus stated bluntly. "You have sulked enough. Tell us what went wrong."

Ares normally a proud person looked around the room. He could try to hide the details of his defeat, but the mere fact he was missing a hand would give lie to his story. He noticed the pity on many of his peers' faces. That angered him more than anything else did and Ares did not hide his anger well.

"I was defeated, father!" cried the god of war. "These Otherworlders have unholy weapons and strange machinations of war. Even I was harmed by them as your brother was killed by them," Ares shouted as he thrust his stump towards Zeus.

"Our time of dominion has passed," Hera said calmly. "The age of man is upon us and we must graciously step aside. Otherwise, we will either destroy each other or we will just be killed."

Ares looked at his queen. He could not believe what Hera had just said. Had the gods lost their minds while he was away and convalescing?

"These Otherworlders are the problem," Hermes said. "We must teach them to fear us or perish as we have taught the Atlanteans."

"Hera, queen and mother is correct," Athena countered. "We have done little to earn the love of men over the centuries. We taught them we are gods, yet we are not divine. We merely have powers that they little understand that is all."

"How dare you, sister!" spat Ares. "Goddess of wisdom? Goddess of fear mongering, maybe. Goddess of cut and run!"

"I will not tolerate your insults half-brother," Athena coolly replied.

Ares looked down at his hand unconsciously. Did she mean to goad him over the loss of his hand or was she merely reminding him that they were just half-siblings. In either account, Ares face turned red in anger and shame.

"Peace," Apollo said. "I have the gift of healing. However, even I cannot repair the loss of a hand. Your best bet would be to ask Hephaestus. A mechanical hand is better than no hand."

The god of the anvil gave Apollo a sour look. The idea of helping the man who stole his wife sickened him. Granted he too feared these Otherworlders and would love to see them annihilated, but to help the very person who was sleeping with his wife and throwing it in his face was beyond reason.

"Oh dear husband," Aphrodite said with a honey voice. "Can you see it in your heart to help out a fellow god in a time of our great distress? Ares is our best hope and only you can help him."

The seduction of Aphrodite would work on mortals and most other gods. In fact, it used to work on Hephaestus. However, that was eons ago and the millennia of torment hardened his heart like the metals and alloys he worked with. Hephaestus frowned and glared at his wife then turned his sour visage on the god of war.

"Fool!" the god of the anvil bellowed. "You stole my wife and now you beg for my services.

"I will not build you a new hand even though I can easily do it. But, you are our best hope to resist these Otherworlders so I give you this!"

With a flick of his wrist, Hephaestus flung a double serrated-edged blade at the god of war. Ares watched as the metal object tumbled end over end towards him. Without flinching, Ares followed the blade's trajectory until it ended with a vibrating shudder stuck in the ground between his feet.

"That is the least I will give you for I have already given you too much," Hephaestus said sadly briefly glancing at Aphrodite before turning his back and leaving the throne room.

Aphrodite usually did not care about her husband the cripple. She loved the well-toned body of the god of war instead. Yet even she felt a pang of regret and sadness as she watched her husband stagger from the room.

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The Animaniacs present an recap of our little tour.

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Supervania

The Case of Errand Boy

Part Two

By Douglas E Gogerty

The Feline Femme Fatale had batted a large ball of twine toward the convention center where the Brownie and Cookie Convention (BaCCon) was being held. The String Theorist was on the job of managing the ball, but as a precaution the mayor wanted to evacuate the center. However, he did not want to cause a panic. Nobody wants to see panicked superheroes.

Further, the superheroes aware of the situation believed this event was just a diversion from the felonious feline's actual scheme. To complicate matters further, her superhero nemesis had not responded to any signals. Thus, The Assistant called upon all available superheroes for a brainstorming session in the mayor's office. A solution to this problem had to be found.

Dirk Justice was the first to arrive.

"Thank goodness you have come Dirk!" exclaimed the mayor. "Trouble is on the move and her name is the Feline Femme Fatale."

"Is the Canine Crusader barking up the wrong tree again?"

"Yes, we should keep him on a shorter leash."

"Let me see if I have a grasp on the situation -- we are looking for something that will attract both the evil ninja cyborg in question and the BaCCon attendees?"

"I think that would be an ideal solution. What could it be?"

"What about m..."

"The Mysterious Mouse Man is ready for action," interrupted an entering superhero. "I'll just sit in the corner until I'm needed."

"As I was saying, something both have in common is a taste for..."

"The Faculty have arrived," interrupted an entering league of superheroes. "Roll call -- Doctor Doright?"

"Here!" chimed in Dr. Doright.

"Professor Peaceful?"

"Here!" called Professor Peaceful.

"Scientific Sidney and faithful sidekick Labbie the Lab."

"Present!" replied Scientific Sid.

"Woof!" barked Labbie the Labrador retriever.

"And I am the Dr. Dean the Dean of Decision-Making! The Faculty are all present and accounted for. We heard there was a brainstorming session!"

"Indeed," replied the mayor. "Can you help?"

"Well I don't know..." replied the Dean of Decision-Making.

"We need something that both the evil Feline Femme Fatale and a group of brownie and cookie eaters would have in common."

"Like I was saying..." began Dirk.

"Faculty -- to action!" called Dr. Dean.

Clouds began forming in the mayor's office as the superhero league began their chant. A wind came from nowhere and began blowing in the confined space. The strong gust picked up a stack of papers on the mayor's desk and scattered them every which way. A flash of lightning struck Mayorman's desk lamp and the room shook with thunder.

"Hold on!" shouted the mayor as the cloud began to look like a human brain. "That is not what I had in mind!"

"What?" asked Dr. Dean as the Mysterious Mouse Man shrank smaller in the corner.

"We need ideas," replied the mayor. "Not a storm shaped like a brain."

"What?" asked Scientific Sidney. "Ideas? What kind of brain storm comes up with ideas?"

"The kind where people gather and throw out ideas to solve problems," replied Mayorman.

"That's crazy!" replied Dr. Doright.

"So should we stay and help?" asked the dean of decision-making.

"I don't know," replied Professor Peaceful. "It sounds kind of hard."

"Agreed," replied Dr. Dean.

"Woof!" added Labbie.

The swirling winds of the storm picked up and more furniture and debris began crashing about the enclosed space. Suddenly a flash of lightning and everything crashed to the floor. The Faculty had left the building.

"Cats like mi.." began Dirk as the sound died down.

"Am I too late for the brainstorming session?" interrupted an entering superhero.

"Thank goodness you have come Irascible Inter..."

"Yes," interrupted the superhero. "The Irascible Interrupter is here!"

"Also people who eat brownies and cookies like mi..." Dirk attempted to say.

"Wow is this room a mess," interrupted the interrupter.

"The Faculty were here and started..." the mayor said.

"They do not know how to brainstorm."

"As I was saying," continued Dirk. "Our solution is..."

"You know what I could use? Some Milk!" interrupted the Irascible Interrupter. "That would hit the spot right now."

"Too bad Milkman is at..." the mayor started to say.

"He's at the convention center. Too bad he has switched to soy. There have been complaints down there."

"That is our sol..." began Dirk Justice.

"Shouldn't it be called soy juice? It isn't really milk."

"If we got some..." attempted Dirk again.

"Or soy-ade because it is sweetened; whereas, juice is not. But milk?"

"Hey if we could get a large amount of milk..." began the mayor.

"That could attract both the felonious feline and the convention goers!" finished the interrupter.

"Why didn't you come up with...?" the mayor asked Dirk.

"But that is..."

"Don't interupt!" shouted the Irascible Interrupter. "You and the mouse have been no help in this brainstorming session."

"How do we get the milk and where do we...?" asked the mayor.

"Too bad Milman is at..." squeaked Mouseman.

"He's at the convention center. Too bad he has switched to soy. There have been complaints down there."

"We could..." Dirk attempted to add.

"Milk would be found at the grocer's," stated the mayor calmly. "Well then, I guess that could be a job for..."

"Teleportation man! I came as quick..." exclaimed Teleportation Man as he walked into messy mayor's office.

"Would you people stop encroaching on my gig!" complained the Irascible Interrupter.

"Teleportation Man! Thank goodness you have come. We need a large amount of milk to..." exclaimed Mayorman.

"It will attracted the endangered conventioneers and the Feline Femme Fatale. We hope that will ruin her plot until the Crusading Canine can be found and capture her."

"I would love to help but..." began teleporting superhero.

"You can't?" asked the interrupter.

"If I were at the supermarket I could teleport it here, but..."

"You cannot teleport it from there to here."

"Sadly no!"

"Drats!" exclaimed the mayor.

"We could just..." Dirk attempted to add.

"We were so close," the interupter said. "Come on people think of another solution. This is a brainstorming session."

"We could just put up a sign..." squeaked the Mysterious Mouseman.

"Saying free milk!"

"In front of the..." began the mayor.

"Auditorium of Equitableness! But we could not lie! We're superheroes."

"We are back to..." stated Mayorman.

"Getting milk here. If only you could think of something Dirk? Has anyone seen where Dirk went?"

"Perhaps he has some solution for the people of..." began the mayor.

Super Supervania
Where interruption can lead to mania
A possible solution they did attain-ia
It's Super Supervania.

"Stop encroaching on my gig!" shouted the Irascible Interrupter!

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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
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  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
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